Louis van Gaal has sought to remind his critics that Manchester United topped the Premier League table earlier in the season before injuries struck.
Since Sir Alex Ferguson retired at the end of the 2012-13 season, United have spent only 10 days top of the table under David Moyes, Ryan Giggs and Van Gaal.
They hit top spot only twice this season, after two games and then seven games, but Van Gaal believes it could have been different were it not for several injuries.
When asked if United would challenge for the league title next season, Van Gaal said: “You can never say that.
“I have respect for the results of Leicester City, but I can only speak about facts.
“And the facts are that, before our injuries, we were first in the league. You can’t deny that. That is a fact.
“After that, especially in December when all my full-backs were injured, I had to solve that and I couldn’t solve that problem.
“Now, we are again in a good run and we don’t have as many injuries any more. So that run is also a consequence of that.”
As well as injuries, Van Gaal has had to deal with constant speculation about his future this season, but the Dutchman believes the facts prove the team has progressed on the whole.
“One section of the media has had me sacked for six months – and I am still here,” he said.
“So you can’t do that. Why do I have to defend myself?
“I always have a feeling of being excited about the future because I have done it at every club. And I was hired here to do that for this club.
“I can’t speak about progress. I am a realistic man and I only speak about facts.
“Up until now, we are less because last year we were fourth, now we are fifth. But still we are able to end the season third so we have to wait and see on May 15, then we know for sure.
“I can’t say again ‘if, if.’ The facts count and the fact is we are in the FA Cup Final, the fact is we were in the Champions League, that we didn’t do last year.
“The fact is we went further in the Capital One Cup and so on. So there are a lot of positives but now we are one position less than last year and that position is very important for the club, the most important position.”